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All the MTV VMA Performances We’re Still Talking About

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A bedazzled bottle of tequila. A foam finger. An albino Burmese python. 

Those are just some of the elements that helped take a handful of MTV Video Music Award performances from original to OMG. (You’re totally picturing them right now, aren’t you?) Since its debut in 1984, the MTV VMAs have become the stage for the bold, provocative, boundary-pushing and downright outrageous performances of artists’ dreams. 

It seems like practically anything and everything has happened on the VMA stage in its near-four decades, whether it be shocking stunts or wild settings, surprise guests or big news.

Still, each new ceremony manages to usher in a fresh round of performances that reflect the culture and create a moment in Hollywood to stand the test of time. 

“Every VMA performance, that’s what you’re looking for,” Miley Cyrus told MTV in 2013, on the heels of her own infamous outing with Robin Thicke. “You’re wanting to make history.”

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards are already destined to do just that given the return of a live audience for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. In 2020, the star-studded show relied on pre-recordings and significant social distancing to bring the show to life amid such unprecedented times. 



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